10/22/2001 11:00PM

NFL favorites deep-sixed in Week 6


The Eagles closed out a banner week for NFL underdog bettors Monday night.

Philadelphia's 10-9 come-from-behind victory over the Giants made underdogs 12-1 against the spread in Week 6 of the NFL. The Rams were the only favorite to cover.

The betting in Las Vegas on the Eagles-Giants game was about even. The Giants opened as a 3 1/2-point favorite at the Stardust and 3 at every other book in town. Some books took significant Giants money and raised the line to 3 1/2 before lowering it back to 3. Most books had balanced action and were happy when a Jason Sehorn sack knocked the Eagles out of field goal range early in the fourth quarter. An Eagles field goal would have made it 9-6, and a potential refund on a lot of bets.

So, the result was good for the house - especially with the 19-point total falling way under the betting over-under sum of 36 1/2.

NFL trends

Underdogs are 23-3-1 against the spread the last two weeks, and now hold a 43-38-4 edge for the season.

The under was 8-5 this week and is now 46-37-2 on the year.

The Bears are the only team to go under in all of their games. The total on the Bears' game Sunday against the 49ers is 40.

Home teams are 45-36-4 against the spread this year. The record was greatly enhanced this week when home dogs went 6-1 against the spread (the Jets were the only loser).

Season-long contest updates

Gaming writer Stephen Nover was 4-3 to defeat NFL Hall of Famer Tom Mack (3-4) in the Stardust Invitational. Friday night's matchup pits Reno-based handicapper Bob Donahue and Napoleon McCallum, the former Navy star and a running back with the Raiders. The show is broadcast live from 9-10 p.m. on KDWN AM-720.

The other first-round matchups are finalized. On Nov. 2, Coast Resorts sports book director Bert Osborne takes on yours truly. On Nov. 9, blackjack expert turned sports handicapper and author Stanford Wong tests fellow author Mike Orkin.

In addition to Nover, Dave Cokin, Pete Korner, Tim Trushel, and Patrick Forsythe have already advanced in the single-elimination tournament.

* In the Eliminator, a joint contest at Bally's Las Vegas and the Reno Hilton, only two contestants remain after six weeks. Players pick one game against the spread each week and stay alive as long as they win. The contest drew 163 players, so the winner-take-all prize is $8,150. Both survivors entered at Bally's.

* Rob Veno moved into a tie with Donahue atop the Sunset Station All-Star Handicapping Invitational standings. Veno went 3-2-1 against the spread to catch Donahue, who was 3-3 with a best-bet loser. Both have 48 points in a contest that awards two points for each win, three for a best-bet win, and one for a push. Bryan Leonard is third with 45 points.

* The Bud Man and TBM share the lead in the Las Vegas Hilton SuperContest. Both have 21.5 points out of a possible 30 after Week 6. The SuperContest awards one point for a win and a half-point for a push. The Bud Man is 20-7-3 against the spread while TBM is 21-8-1. Blue Coats and SJM, who went 5-0 on Sunday, are next with 21 points. The SuperContest is the most prestigious buy-in contest in Las Vegas with a $1,500 entry fee and first prize of $135,600 this year.

Dogs bite bankroll

Like most other bettors last weekend, my bankroll suffered a hit with all the dogs coming in.

In the colleges Saturday, I lost 11 units each on USC, Oregon, and Oregon State. All three were covering in the fourth quarter, but all lost outright. My only win was Texas, which blew out Colorado 41-7 as a 10-point favorite. The bankroll, started at 1,000 units this season and entering the week at 999, lost 23 net units and stands at 976.

No play on Thursday night's Miami-Fla.-West Virginia game. The 'Canes have incentive to rout the Mountaineers after being ranked a mere fourth in this week's BCS rankings. But laying nearly five touchdowns is too rich for my blood.

In the NFL, I lost my best bet of 22 units on the Titans -5 1/2. They also were covering late only to give the game away. I also lost 11 units each on the Panthers (worst bad beat of the weekend) and Broncos. I had winners with the Bears, along with the under in the Bears-Bengals game, plus the Vikings. The bankroll, which started the weekend at 973 units after losing with the Jaguars on Thursday, lost a net of 14 units to stand at 959 heading into Thursday.

Colts (-3) at Chiefs

This game was moved from Sunday to Thursday to give ESPN a game that isn't up against the World Series. Both teams are coming off embarrassing losses. If the Colts hadn't lost twice to the Patriots this season, they would be favored by nearly a touchdown in this matchup. Unless Bill Belichick resigns as New England coach and takes over the Chiefs' defense, the Colts should run away with this one. The Chiefs' defense was shredded by the Cardinals on Sunday and QB Peyton Manning should do the same. On the other side of the ball, the Colts' defense is shaky, but it won't matter. The Chiefs' offense is struggling and was lucky to make the team's 24-16 loss as close as it was after rallying against the prevent defense.

Play: Colts for 22 units (to win 20).